Thursday, May 23, 2013

4th Annual Chardonnay Day - Chardonnay Around the World and in Pouilly-Fuissé

Picture: Pouilly-Fuissé

Today is the 4th annual Chardonnay Day. This is a global event set to run 24 hours in order to give everyone time to have a glass of Chardonnay when it makes sense in their time zone. All you have to do is share on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Foursquare or any other social site using the #Chardonnay hash tag all day May 26th. You'll be able to search what other wine lovers are sharing by searching posts using the #Chardonnay hash tag.

See also:
Third Annual Chardonnay Day – Chardonnays Around the World, Snooth’s Top Picks and Hamilton Russell Vineyards in South Africa
A Global Event: Second Annual Chardonnay Day (@Chardonnay) #Chardonnay

Chardonnay Around the World

Chardonnay is grown wherever wine is made, from England to New Zealand, although the best Chardonnay comes from the Bourgogne. It is one of the most widely-planted grape varieties in the world, with over 175.000 hectares.

Chardonnay first rose to prominence in the Chablis, Bourgogne and Champagne regions. The Bourgogne Chardonnays were long considered the benchmark standard of expressing terroir through Chardonnay. In Chablis, Chardonnay is the only permitted AOC grape variety. The wines rarely go through malolactic fermentation or are exposed to oak. The biting, green apple-like acidity is a trademark of Chablis. In the Champagne, it is most often blended with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Champagne, Chablis and Burgundy account for more than 3/5 of all Chardonnay plantings in France.

In the US, Chardonnay found another region where it could thrive in California. The early trend to imitate the Bourgogne wines soon gave way to more buttery and oaky styles. New oak barrels coupled with malolactic fermentation were used to produce wines that were big in body and mouthfeel, and high in alcohol. In recent years, Californian winemakers have been trying to go back to more Old Word Chardonnay, leaner, using less oak and lower alcohol levels.

In Australia, the export driven wine industry was well situated for the Chardonnay boom of the 1980s and 1990s. Now being more famous for its Sauvignon Blanc production, Chardonnay was New Zealand's most widely planted grape variety until only a few years ago.

In conclusion, the area planted with Chardonnay throughout the world is estimates at over 175.000 hectares, with the US and France accounting for about half of it.

Large Chardonnay Producers in the World (in 1000 hectares)

1. USA (California 45, Oregon 3,Washington State 3)
2. France 35 (Bourgogne, Jura, Champagne, Loire Valley, Midi, Charentes).
3. Australia 23
4. Italy 12
5. Moldavia 8
6. South Africa 8
7. Chile 8

Chardonnay in the Mâconnais - Pouilly-Fuissé

Pouilly-Fuissé is a wine, known all over the world. Here are some basics: (1) Pouilly-Fuissé AOC is part of the Mâconnais, which is part of the Bourgogne. (2) In 1936, when the Pouilly-Fuissé AOC was created, 3 “Pouilly” AOCs were created: Pouilly-Fuissé AOC and Pouilly-Loché AOC plus Pouilly-Vinzelles AOC. (3) In 1971, the Saint-Veran AOC was created; it sandwiches the Pouilly-Fuissé AOC. (4) All these AOCs are located in the extreme south of the Mâconnais subregion and of the Burgundy wine region as a whole.

In the Most Prestigious AOC in the Mâconnais: Pouilly-Fuissé, France


The Mâconnais in the Bourgogne takes its name from the provincial town of Mâcon. Most of the wine made in the Mâconnais is white wine. Chardonnay is the main grape grown.

Picture: Macon

Unlike the Cote d'Or to the north, where a densely planted strip of vineyards runs through the countryside, the vineyards of the Maconnais are more sparsely planted and interspersed with land dedicated to other forms of agriculture.

Macon has historically been most famous for its red wines. During the 20th century, however, white wine production accelerated dramatically and now represents the large majority of Maconnais wines. These whites are produced exclusively from the quintessential Burgundian variety Chardonnay.

Macon Appellations

These are the Macon appellations.

Bourgogne AOC – Interestingly, red wine made from Pinot Noir in Macon is typically sold under the more-prestigious, but broader Bourgogne AOC appellation.

Macon AOC - the generic appellation for red, white and rose wines from the Maconnais. The term Superieur may be added to denote a slightly higher alcohol level.

Macon plus name of village AOC: a number of communes within the appellation have been recognized as sources of higher-quality wines and may append their names to that of the appellation; for example, Macon Lugny.

Mâcon-Villages AOC - a title reserved for white wines.

Pouilly-Fuissé AOC
Pouilly-Loché AOC
Pouilly-Vinzelles AOC

Saint-Veran AOC

Vire-Clesse AOC – introduced in 1999.

Pouilly-Fuissé AOC

Pouilly-Fuissé is an AOC for white wine produced in the communes of Fuissé, Solutré-Pouilly, Vergisson and Chaintré. The AOC was created in 1936. The area - before known simply as "Pouilly - was split into three AOCs: Pouilly-Fuissé, Pouilly-Loché and Pouilly-Vinzelles.

Pictures: The Pouilly-Fuissé Vineyards

The Pouilly-Fuissé vineyards total 750 hectares; the Pouilly-Loché and Pouilly-Vinzelles vineyards are much smaller.

While Pouilly-Fuissé is the best-known part of Mâconnais, there are no Premier Cru or Grand Cru vineyards within the AOC.

The AOC regulations only allow Chardonnay to be used. The allowed base yield is 50 hectoliter per hectare and the grapes must reach a maturity of at least 11.0 per cent potential alcohol.

The Beaujolais King George Deboeuf grew up in Pouilly-Fuisse.

Pouilly-Fume is an AOC further up north in the Loire region, on the opposite side of the Loire from Sancerre.  It has nothing to do with Pouilly-Fuissé. Only Sauvignon Blanc is made here.

Pouilly-Fuissé Climats/Lieux-dits

In the wine world, lieu-dit is something like a single vineyard, the smallest piece of land which has a traditional vineyard name assigned to it. In some cases, lieux-dits appear on wine labels, in addition to the AOC name. This is most commonly seen for Alsace wine and Burgundy wine. In the Bourgogne, the term climat is used interchangeably with lieu-dit.

The climats of Pouilly-Fuissé are:

Chaintré : Les Chevrières, Le Clos Reyssier, les Plantes Vieilles, en Cenan
Fuissé : Les Vignes Blanches, Vers Cras, Le Clos, Les Brûlés, Les Perrières, Les Combettes
Solutré-Pouilly : En Servy, La Frérie, Aux Chailloux, Aux Morlays, Vers Cras, Au Clos
Vergisson : Les Crays, La Maréchaude, En Carmentrant, En Bulland

Picture: 2008 Pouilly-Fuissé, Solutré-Pouilly, En Servy

Pouilly-Loché AOC and Pouilly-Vinzelles AOC

Pouilly-Loché and Pouilly-Vinzelles are located adjacent to the appellations Pouilly-Fuissé.

Pouilly-Loché AOC vineyards total 32 hectares and the Pouilly-Vinzelles AOC vineyards 52 hectares.

The AOC regulations only allow Chardonnay to be used. The allowed base yield is 50 hectoliter per hectare and the grapes must reach a maturity of at least 11.0 per cent potential alcohol. The three neighboring appellations all produce white wines of a similar style.

Saint-Véran AOC

Saint-Véran is a relatively new AOC, which sandwiches the Pouilly-Fuissé AOC.

The Saint-Véran AOC extends over 8 communes and is divided into two small islands separated from each other by the Pouilly-Fuissé appelation. It is made up of the villages of Davayé, Prissé and Solutré-Pouilly in the north, and Chânes, Chasselas, Leynes, Saint-Amour and Saint-Vérand in the south.

The Saint-Veran appellation covers 645 hectares. The maximum yield is 55 hectolitres/hectare, which is higher than in the Pouilly-Fuissé appellation.

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